Last Monday, the three of us piled into our car and hit the road. We originally had planned to go kayaking, but after checking the water temperatures online… we realized the snow melt would make kayaking too cold for Riley’s small body. Instead, we decided to drive all of Kaiser Pass Road to Edison Lake. Before, we had always stopped at Mono Hot Springs, ate at the restaurant there… then headed back down the mountain.
The night before we left, I got on the Sierra National Forest’s website to see if there were any sites in the area that we hadn’t been to before. When we travel, Jeff and I love to stop anywhere where we can learn something new. I discovered that the drive from Old Town Clovis to Kaiser Pass is called the Sierra Heritage Scenic Byway, so there’s a name for our all-time favorite drive!! We discovered Kaiser Pass Road a few years ago and have made it our traditional summer drive ever since. Last summer we found out that the road has a special connection to my family, which cemented our tradition.
Riley is the best car-dog ever. When we took her to Shaver Lake last summer to go kayaking, she slept most of the car ride! Being in the car relaxes her, and she craves it. Every time I leave the house, I have to fight to keep her inside. Otherwise she ends up in my passenger seat, along for the ride. This trip was no different, she slept in my arms on the way to Edison. She only held her head out the window for about ten minutes of the drive.
Kaiser Pass Road is not a smooth highway, it’s a single car bumpy road that probably hasn’t been re-paved since it was first paved in the 70’s. Maybe every decade or so they’ll patch up the potholes. But, if your car can handle it, it’s totally worth the views. Riley didn’t care about the bumps, they seemed to put her in an even more relaxed state.
This was our first trip up the road where there was still snow. We were amazed, because it was the end of June and there was still at least a four-foot wall of snow at Kaiser Pass’ summit. This was technically the end of the Scenic Byway, with the option to go to White Bark Vista. We had never been to that vista before, but when we saw the route covered in snow, we realized we’d have to come back later this summer!
The entire drive you can hear and see these tiny waterfalls from the snowmelt. It’s a happy feeling to know that this winter we had an enormous about of snow, because the last few years we’ve been living in a drought. It was also a nice break from the high temperatures we’ve been having back in the Central Valley!
Once we finally got to Edison Lake, we set up on the beach off of the USFS campground past the Vermillion Resort. I’ve been to many beautiful lakes in the Sierras and Cascades, but the privacy we had at Edison Lake trumped them all. I’m sorry Tahoe, Crater Lake, Donner Lake… and all the others… but the loud tourists and cars do affect the experience!
We had the entire beach to ourselves, so we let Riley off her leash for a bit. She never really realized she was off her leash, so she stayed close. Last summer, she wouldn’t go into water voluntarily. This year, she was willingly getting into the water and chasing after the balls I’d throw for her. She mostly wanted to just smell the new smells and sunbathe.
Even though we had both of our lines in the water, we never got a bite. It didn’t matter, we were happy to be alone in a beautiful place.
As the day wore on, our privacy ended when a large group of about five families arrived. We moved to another part of the lake by the boat launch and fished for another hour or so before heading back down the road for dinner.
I can’t wait to go back to Edison Lake, hopefully next time we can camp for a few nights!
For more photos from this trip, see my set on Flickr.